Project delays – Myth or Reality?

Author : Shashikant Zarekar | Published On : 07 Apr 2023

Most projects struggle on time due to this simple oversight in the early stages. Did you have a similar experience?

Author: Shailesh Mirkar - VP Operations

The Programme Implementation Wing (MoSPI) keeps track of cost over-runs and delays in projects. From time to time, we get to read that a large number of projects in the infrastructure sector suffer from cost over-run or delays or both. The projects which are tracked are of such large scale that scientific project management practices can be deployed. It is easy to infer that smaller projects, which might not have the ‘luxury’ of proper project management practices may be faring even worse.

It is also a common refrain that the main cause of cost over-run is project delays. Thus, the core problem to be tackled is project delays. There are a number of causes leading to delays in construction project. While the number of specific reasons that can be listed are upwards of 20, the big ticket items are shown in the figure below.


However, the aim of this article is not to analyze the issues causing project delays and to suggest preventive measures. It aims to go back in time and examine the issues when the seed of project delay is actually sown.

If someone, at the later stages of the project, is blamed for project delays, he may be entitled to ask the following questions.

  1. Was there a categorical statement laying down the project completion target and was it expressed in dd-mm-yyyy format or as N number of days from some arbitrary milestone? (financial closure or ground-breaking).
  2. Was it the right time to declare the project target (did the project proponent have reasonable information to decide the deadline)?
  3. Was the project deadline realistic?

Let us examine each question and see where that leads us.

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